Creativity

Hello all! I’ve never been good at keeping this blog up to date in any shape or form and I always begin each post about just that fact. I can’t possibly believe myself when I say, “I can get better! I’ll change!”. So I won’t. Is what it is…

But anyways, I’m writing this today because I felt like rambling a bit about creativity and the act of expressing oneself.

I have always expressed myself through creative means throughout my whole life. Whether it was drawing or making models as a kid, or writing music or taking pictures nowadays, I have found some way to manifest the inner workings of my creative self. I once had aspirations to somehow make a living doing one, some or all of these things, but I’ve since discovered that’s rather difficult. I simply don’t have the passion required to overcome the obstacles I face in trying accomplish any amount of success at whatever it is I would try to do. On top of that, I lack direction; an outlet to focus on.

I’ve continually found I’m unable to satisfy my creative impulses with just one form of expression. I have to bounce between writing, or designing, or creating music, etc… This just aides in my unfocused approach to being creative. And yes, it’s an approach. There’s always a conscious decision as to how I’m to “get it out”, so to speak.

Recently, I’ve become hopelessly enamoured with Instagram, a (currently) iPhone-only photo sharing app. Not only is it a great way to share photos and get immediate feedback, but it can also be a very positive force on one’s life. There are some amazing people that use Instagram who always have something more to share than just photos. There are stories of turmoil, perseverance, triumph and enlightenment, almost all of which are met with words of empathy, encouragement and advice.

It’s truly something to see how good people can actually be. This, to a generally cynical fella such as myself, can be incredibly influential on one’s worldview. And though I know having me on my bloody iPhone all the time is a stress on my relationship with my fiancé, Kim, I feel I can take something positive from this (while working on developing some personal restraint).

As far as expressing myself goes, Instagram has encouraged me to explore photography more seriously as a creative outlet for myself. I feel I’ve opened myself up a little to share my photos in a way that might actually encourage my growth as an artist, where previously, as is seen with my music, I released a couple albums, got discouraged and more or less quit sharing.

I still write music. I even still share what I’m confident in. But at even the slightest bit of negative feedback, my passion is smothered and I’m back to square one. I’ve lost the ability to create without the fear of what others are going to think; I’m not longer writing music for me.

With photography (or iPhoneography as I believe it more accurately describes what it is I’m doing), I feel I’ve done a better job at remaining true to my creative self while still keeping the desire to grow and change. The relatively little time to take, edit and post a photo versus the time it takes to write, produce and share an entire song has helped expedite the process a smidgen. It’s helped build a more positive, creative being in me.

If I can take the passion I’ve developed for photography and keep true to my creative desires, I might just be able to express myself freely, at any time, in whatever way I deem fit.

Now wouldn’t that be lovely?

A New Song… Eventually

Hello all! I’m writing this post to you to let you know that I’m in the process of completing a new track. I preemptively previewed it on Facebook a number of months back and got some pretty great responses…

Generally speaking, people were keen to describe it as “fucked up” or some variation of this. That pleases me. Other comments, however, did point out its relatively cluttered and busy mix.

Since this preview, I’ve developed the song a little bit more, structurally speaking, but I’ve yet to clean up the mix. Slowly, but surely, I’m working on scrubbing out unnecessary elements and tightening up the mix, as well as making the song a little more coherent, big-picture-wise. I wish I had something to preview today, but if I posted what I had so far, it wouldn’t make much sense and only spoil the end-result.

So with that said, this post really is just an update for the sake of an update, since I really seem to have a problem keeping this damned blog current.

As a small post script, life outside of my music is going rather well. Planning a wedding and dealing with particularly large changes at work has taken up the majority of my time for the last few months and will probably continue to do throughout the next few. But to reiterate my thoughts from earlier, it is a goal of mine to release the next song sooner rather than later, even if it means not sleeping for a little bit!

Stay tuned for something fun!

Reset It – A New Song

As per the norm, here is my semi-annual blog post announcing something new I’ve done. This time ’round, I’ve written a new track under my “Phonemic” moniker called “Reset It”. More then ever, I cannot seem to find a good genre to toss this into…

My goal as an artist has always been to create something I’ve never heard before and I continue to be tasked with the seemingly impossible duty to categorize my music if I ever wish to market it properly, if at all. It helps even less that I don’t really listen to the type of music I end up creating, so it’s really a hopeless battle I must fight time after time. So if pressured into coming up with something, I’d describe this track as a frantic, experimental drum and bass exploration.

Over the last few years, I’ve developed a persistent interest in live drums emulation focusing less on re-creating the live drum sound but more on limiting my percussive choices. I do firmly stand by the belief that one is often more creative in a situation where choice and resources are limited and I try to use this to my advantage with most tracks I produce. In a way, I tend to write songs as though I’m working with a band that has a limited number of members and instruments.

It’s tough to not be influenced and intimidated by these damn electro artists, however, with all of their crazy sample cutting and bass modulation; modern electro kicks some serious ass production-wise. It’s a nightmare wandering through new tracks on sites like SoundCloud hearing the extreme talent blanketing that genre…

But nonetheless, I’ve got to be proud of what I do. I’m passionate about my craft and I’ve got to let it be its own thing and try to appreciate the sound I tend to gravitate towards. I would love to produce electro (among other genres) but that’s not what I should concern myself with. Being happy with the work I’ve done doesn’t come easy to me so I’m learning to let go of these fleeting urges to fit in with the crowd. To help combat my habit of dumping perfectly good tracks in favour of creating something new instead, I’ve decided to start releasing singles rather than collecting tracks for an album or even an EP.

There are a series of problems I face in trying to write an entire album. First, I simply can’t write music full-time, so a lot of time generally passes between opportunities to seriously sit down and write a song. Secondly, over time my tastes and skills change and evolve, generating large thematic and aural gaps between the tracks I do manage to produce. Trying to forge an album out of these fragmented ideas ends up being more work than I’m able to handle. And so it goes, I never release any music.

And here is the solution, the first of many singles I intend on releasing throughout the year. This has been on my iPod in some form or another for almost 3 months, knocking around in my head slowly moulding itself into what you hear today.

I’m proud to present to you, “Reset It”. Please enjoy.

Do not stand at my grave and weep

I’ve decided this poem needs to be highlighted in some way for those people who may not be familiar with it. Despite it’s relative overuse at funerals, it truly is a beautiful poem that simply should resonate emotionally for people.

The sole purpose of this post is to make it known that I find this to be the most appropriate written material for funerals (particularly mine) as it carries no significant religious undertones that tend to skew interpretation of such materials. This is a straight-foward and natural, almost holistic approach to death and I admire it greatly for this.

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.*
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.*
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.*
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die.

I’ve chosen this particular version of the poem as it includes specific lines that carry more meaning for me. They are marked with asterisks.

Aligning Life’s Facets

It isn’t my natural instinct to write down my thoughts. I often think about writing down the various ideas I may randomly have, but taking it to the next level to actually put into words the thoughts in my head never seems to come about. As a consequence, my blog posts are few and far between.

With that said, here be a new blog post. This one is about projects. It’s always about projects.

I recently made a change of locale and now find myself in Victoria, BC. I see this as an opportunity to break out of terrible habits I’ve developed over my lifetime. One of those habits I’ve inadvertently acquired is the inability to finish what I start. My biggest failure is letting things with potential sort of wither away and die. The biggest one1 being Two Word Heap. I feel so incredibly bad for bringing people into a project that I simply didn’t have time for. I only wish I had a chance to really pour myself into TWH to give it a fair shot at becoming something worthwhile.

But there were hurdles.

Much like a business, a website requires some serious dedication and a little elbow grease to keep it operating smoothly and successfully. Running a website is a challenge. Though this may seem pretty obvious, the truth of it isn’t wholly apparent until you actually try running one yourself.

My good friend and associate, Grant Tingley and I have always wanted an outlet for our creative spew ever since we started Seppo Igloo Productions, a video production group, back in 2003. After Grant moved back to his homeland, Murrieta CA, we had no choice but to pursue an online endeavour of some kind. It was upon this realization we birthed Two Word Heap, an online entertainment magazine.

The idea was to post movie and album reviews, podcasts, things we found amusing or interesting, as well as other random ideas. To begin with, it was just Grant and I contributing but over time, we decided to include other writers in an effort to diversify our content a little.

After gathering about a dozen writers2, it became clear within a few months that we had bitten off more than we could chew. Editing incoming articles while simultaneously trying to change and improve the site as we learned the ropes of managing a team ultimately ate up all of my free time and, consequently, drove stress levels far beyond comfort.

In the end, this lead to the site’s eventual demise.

We considered various revivals and such, but I finally resolved to merely start anew. Thus far, only a name has been established. The platform, amongst other aspects, has yet to be determined. I won’t mention the name at this point, but I’m pretty excited at the idea of getting a personal project up and running again.

My music has run stagnant as of late as I focus more on my professional aspirations, which at this point involve working with my Uncle Jay and The MacPros in various capacities, including web design and programming. So why not give myself some much needed focus and get my professional and personal projects in line with each other? By directing my efforts towards design and web work, I think I may be able to do just that.

  1. meaning involving the most people []
  2. regular and part time contributors []